Bills linebacker Matt Milano cleared to return to practice for first time since injuring his leg last season

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Buffalo Bills linebacker Matt Milano has been cleared to return to practice, with coach Sean McDermott saying Tuesday that the seven-year starter should be at full strength once training camp opens this month next.

McDermott said Milano, who suffered a serious right leg injury in Week 5 of last season, was back in action and would be a limited participant in practice as the Bills opened a three-man mandatory minicamp days.

“Yeah, it’s huge,” McDermott said of Milan being on track in his lengthy rehabilitation.

“Credit to Matt and what he’s been able to do with our coaching staff and the work he’s done,” McDermott said of a player who was limited to watching from the sidelines during spring volunteering sessions. “He’s so focused. He was focused before that. I have the impression that he is even more focused, if that is possible now, and that he wants to get back on the field for himself, but also for his teammates.

Barring any setbacks, McDermott said that based on projections from the team’s medical staff, Milan will be available to practice once the team opens camp in suburban Rochester, New York, on July 24.

The 2022 All-Pro has been a key cog in the middle of Buffalo’s defense since being selected in the fifth round of the 2017 draft out of Boston College. Although relatively undersized at 6 feet and 223 pounds, the 29-year-old’s sideline speed and hitting ability have led him to be a three-down player since his rookie season.

Milano required surgery after breaking his leg and suffering other injuries during a 25-20 loss to Jacksonville in a match played at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on October 8.

The Bills opened mandatory camp without several injured regulars, including running back Ray Davis, a rookie fourth-round pick, and linebacker Nick Morrow, a veteran free agent this offseason. McDermott did not reveal the nature of their injuries.

“We had to reduce some representatives of the third group during the last week. And we may need to do the same today. We’ll see how it goes,” McDermott said.

Safety guard Mike Edwards, a free agent addition during the offseason, was expected to return to practice on a limited basis after missing previous spring workouts with a shoulder injury.

Returning starting cornerback Christian Benford was the only player absent, with McDermott saying he was excused due to a family matter.